If nothing excites you more than the sight of an ordinary brown cardboard box overflowing with fresh-picked spring produce, you might have Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) fever. Whether you’ve just received your box from SLO Veg, Talley Farms or your local farmer’s market, you know the feeling. Symptoms include spontaneous fits of farm-to-table cooking, dramatic spikes in overall well-being, and the casual, consistent mentioning of “what’s in your CSA box” at any given opportunity (of course your dry cleaner needs to know the unreal flavor of your latest batch of green onions). Do everyone a favor and quench your fever with these creative CSA box creations paired with local wines from across the Central Coast.
1. Artichoke + Chardonnay
Life is like a CSA box. You never know what you’re going to get! Playful green artichokes signal the first blush of spring on the Central Coast, and their nutty, earthy flavor call out for bright citrus and plenty of garlic. Pair this perfect weeknight chicken masterpiece —made with capers, artichoke hearts, good parmesan, and oodles of sliced lemon—with a creamy, round Central Coast Chardonnay. Tip: Use a good drizzle of Pasolivo EVOO to add richness to the briny sauce and pair with Harmony Cellars’ 2014 Chardonnay, which is sweet, buttery (and blissful) to the max.
2. Strawberries + Viognier
What magic! The very first perky, plump strawberries of the season are coming into their own, boasting bright red fruit and sweet-yet-tangy allure. Prepare for that summer bikini body and start tossing those suckers into loads of salads (arugula, butter lettuce and red leaf are in season too, after all). This sweet and refreshing strawberry spring salad goes gangbusters with a floral viognier, and remember: all green juice and no wine make Jane a boring lass. Pair your crunchy, green entree with Arroyo Robles’ 2009 Viognier or try Cass Winery’s 2015 viognier with notes of mango and tropical fruit.
3. Asparagus + Zinfandel
Date night is calling! Scoop up hearty, mini marinara-drenched shells and cheers with your love to a night of spring patio dining at its finest! When paired with a spicy, zingy zinfandel, this sexy little dish inspires candles, soft music, and perhaps even hitting the “pause” button on your latest Netflix obsession. Tip: Bring this entree to a boil and add in chunks of lobster and whole clams. Pop a dark raspberry-laden 2012 Zinfandel by HammerSky or get frisky with a sultry 2014 Zinfandel produced by Pelletiere.
4. Radish + Grenache Blanc (or hard cider)
No more shall the humble radish be overlooked. Next time you see a bunch of little red orbs in your CSA box, rejoice. All you need to know is steak + lime + cilantro = radish revolution. This quick meal is so fresh, filling, and fabulous you will want to make it every night of the week! Considering the fact that radishes are in prime season, I say grill ‘em while you can! Pair this Latin inspired feast with a cleansing, fruity grenache blanc like Sextant’s 2014 Grenache Blanc or go fizzy and bone dry with Lone Madrone’s Bristol’s Original Hard Cider.
This blog post was written by Hayley Thomas, food and wine writer for SLO New Times and PasoRoblesWineries.net. She can be reached at [email protected].